On Friday (May 29), officials with The Meadowlands issued a notice regarding the protocols for Saturday's qualifying session in advance of a return to racing next week.
Over the past few days there have been conflicting messages on just what the protocols will be for Saturday's (May 30) qualifiers and beyond at The Meadowlands. The situation has been fluid and things have evolved. These are the current details.
Testing for the COVID-19 is currently not mandatory but is strongly recommended by the Governor and the CDC.
Personal Protective Equipment is required, face covering mandatory at all times when in the paddock area, gloves are recommended when touching common equipment and maintain the accepted social distance of six feet. The number of people in the paddock and contact with others must be kept to the absolute minimum.
Qualifiers will be held on Saturday (May 30), the time TBA after the draw. The box for those will close at 10 a.m. on Friday (May 28).
Horses may be warmed up one trip only. The caretakers must not gather in a group trackside when waiting for their horses to come off the track or at any other time. This is very important.
The state requirement to practice social distancing will reduce the capacity available for stabling thus restricting the number of entries we are able to accept.
If you are stabled in New Jersey and have the opportunity to qualify at a training center please do so at the request of The Meadowlands and the SBOA of NJ to allow others that do not have that option to get their horses qualified at The Meadowlands.
If preference becomes necessary, as will likely be the case, first preference will be horses that are eligible to stakes at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs followed by those trainers who have consistently raced at The Meadowlands.
The qualifying overnight sheet will designate where each horse will be stabled until they race either from the paddock or another designated area. Please do not bring horses other than those who are in to qualify as there will be no training permitted on May 30.
The current plan has the track open to accommodate training on Thursday (June 4).
All horsepeople and track employees will be required to download and submit a completed questionnaire and consent to having their temperature checked with a no touch thermometer before entering the paddock gate.
VERY IMPORTANT: This questionnaire must be printed out and completed so we have a hard copy. Having it on your phone or other device is not acceptable.
Please try to have this completed and ready to hand over to the guards when you arrive to avoid slowing entry through the gate. If deemed a health risk you will be turned away. It is advised that everyone’s temperature is checked to be within the normal range before you ship in to the track to avoid being refused entry.
Pertinent information on protocols the state will require from horse persons to participate will be made available on the track website. Trainers are asked to have themselves and their employees familiar with those requirements and come prepared to follow the protocol as it is stated.
Only those essential to racing the horses will be granted admittance to the paddock. No others, including owners, will be admitted into the paddock or grandstand to watch the qualifiers or the live races when they begin.
The qualifiers will be available via streaming at The Meadowlands website on Saturday.
Catch-drivers must remain outside the paddock, isolated in their vehicles and will pick up their mount as the horses exit the paddock on the way to the track then return to their car after the race. Trainers driving horses from their stable may participate in the preparation of and drive only their own horses. The locker room will be unavailable.
We ask that you explicitly follow the directions of those officials maintaining the protocol while in the paddock and on the grounds.